Notes in college are no joke. While you may think college lectures are “optional,” material on lectures will be introduced and taught in lectures. College students often depend on textbooks, but most semester-long college courses fail to cover the whole textbook during the semester. It’s also critical that you take good notes, which will help you prepare for your exams.
Here are 10 tips that will help you master the art of good note-taking in college.
1. Add Headings and Titles
While this may remind you of middle school, adding heading and titles will keep your notes orderly and easy to find. While you may not need to put your name on top of every page of notes anymore now that you are in college, it will be helpful to date your notes or label your lectures so it’s easier for you to look for a specific topic. We all know the frustration of looking through your notes and not being able to find a topic, so try to avoid this frustration by labeling your notes. After the class is over, title the notes from that day so they will be so much easier to find.
2. Use Note-Taking Method That’s Best for You
There are so many ways to organize your notes. While some students prefer to follow lecture slides as an outline, some may take bulleted notes without any titles or subtitles, and some may simply copy the text from lecture slides. It is now your responsibility as a student to discover which note-taking method works best for you. There are many tools, such as Microsoft Word, and Microsoft OneNote, and Google Drive, that you can use to help take notes on your computer in an organized manner.
3. Be Prepared
Be sure to be prepared for classes and bring the proper utensils and tools to be successful. Be sure to have your notebooks, laptop, and writing utensils, and understand which medium is best for a class. For example, it may be more difficult to take notes on your laptop for organic chemistry and it may be easier to draw molecules by hand.
4. Be Thoughtful
Students should try their best to be thoughtful during the process of note-taking to become efficient learners.
5. Be Clear
Clear notes are the best notes. One of the most frustrating things about being a student is reading your notes and not being able to read what you wrote. Try to skip lines, use headings, and focus on writing neatly. This will save you time, as you won’t have to try to decipher hard-to-read writing, and also give you a sense of accomplishment.
6. Use Colors
Colors make everything better. Color coding your notes, using highlighters, pens, and post-its, can make your notes fun to read and easier to interpret. Investing in colored pens, highlighters, post-its, and other color coding tools can make your note-taking and reviewing process more enjoyable and appealing to the eye. Colors can help you remember information more easily, so don’t fail to try this method!
7. Ask Questions
As always, ask questions! If your course material ever becomes difficult, be sure to arrange a meeting or hours to clarify the material. The more you ask, the more you learn!
8. Use a Binder System
The Binder system has completely solved the problem for students. one can now organize every class into one binder and be able to quickly flip through pages to find the information they need later on.
9. Combine Your Notes with Handouts
Your notes should be a fluid and seamless stream of information. Throughout your lecture notes, you should add in relevant handouts that fill in any gaps your notes may be lacking.
10. Add Summaries
Stretching your brain to review material without looking at your notes is a great way to learn. You can do this at the end of each lecture, the end of each day, or at the end of each topic.
College brings great opportunities and is a transformative moment in one’s life. Be sure to succeed in the classroom and make the most of your education by taking great notes and reviewing your notes! There are so many note-taking techniques, but be sure to find the method that works best for you.